Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

Each of the fol­low­ing books focus on a jour­ney. They rep­re­sent both phys­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al jour­neys and geo­graph­i­cal­ly span the globe. These books take us from the haunt­ing images of con­cen­tra­tion camps, to a fam­i­ly’s bicy­cle adven­ture across the coun­try, to Rab­bi Nach­man’s gravesite in Uman, to Debra Spark’s sto­ries that blur the line between real­i­ty and fic­tion, the real and the sur­re­al. As we approach Passover next month, and retell the bib­li­cal jour­ney of the Jew­ish peo­ple from slav­ery, it’s fit­ting that these con­tem­po­rary works remind us to con­tin­ue the jour­ney to under­stand our own Jew­ish­ness, where we come from and where we’re going, the impor­tance of retelling the sto­ries of the past, and to nev­er stop ask­ing questions.

Frag­ments: Archi­tec­ture of the Holo­caust: An Artist’s Jour­ney Through the Camps, Karl Koenig and Kath­leen V. Jame­son (Jan­u­ary 2012, Fres­co Fine Art Pub­li­ca­tions) 
Through a series of pho­tographs of con­cen­tra­tion camps, Karl explores nar­ra­tive and visu­al dis­so­nances in order to high­light the inex­plic­a­bil­i­ty of the Holo­caust itself.

The Bar Mitz­vah and the Beast: One Fam­i­ly’s Cross-Coun­try Ride of Pas­sage by Bike, Matt Bier-Ariel (April 2012, The Moun­taineers Books)
How many gal­lons of Gatorade does it take to make it cross-coun­try? Appar­ent­ly 99.

The Pret­ty Girl: Novel­la and Sto­ries, Debra Spark (April 2012, Four Way Books)

Check back here the week of April 23rd for Debra’s guest blog posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

A Sense of Direc­tion: Pil­grim­age for the Rest­less and the Hope­ful, Gideon Lewis-Kraus (May 2012, River­head Books)
Find out what hap­pens when Gideon trav­els with 40,000 Ortho­dox Jews to vis­it the gravesite of a Hasidic mys­tic in the Ukraine.


Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.